Web standards are a set of best practices for building websites. Just like there are standards for building solid, long-lasting houses, there are standards for building websites so they are more stable and viable for the future.

A site built with web standards is a sound investment and will add value to a business, increasing its longevity and sustainability.

Standards-based sites are faster and more search engine friendly. They also are more scaleable, more accessible to those with disabilities and render more consistently across browsers.

Benefits of web standards


Separating the HTML, CSS and Javascript speeds up page load time because the CSS and Javascript files only need to be loaded once. Users are not loading the same files for every page they click on and it saves on server bandwidth costs.


Standards code is written to last. It accounts for future possible web technologies while keeping in mind older browser quirks. Well-written code serves as a solid foundation for scaling up your site when it grows along with your traffic.

Easier Maintenance

It’s easier to read and maintain standards-based code and this makes updates quicker. If you decide to change your web developer, the new developer will be able to understand standards-based, well-written and commented code much faster. All of this means paying less for web maintenance and future updates.

Search Engine Friendly

Standards code is clean code and allows search engines to focus on the the content. Search engines don’t like errors in the code. Too many and they will give up indexing a site. While validating code is one tool to use to see if a site is on the right track, it’s not the only barometer. There are times when invalid code is a trade-off for fixing a cross-browser compatibility concern or implementing a progressive design technique such as CSS3.


What is good for search engines is good for user accessibility. Making sites accessible to impaired visitors widens your audience. It also keeps sites inline with government accessibility guidelines.


By separating the HTML and CSS we can use the same HTML to create different style sheets for different formats including screen, print and mobile. This separation also allows the look of the site to be updated without having to change the structure.

How to choose a company

There are many guidelines and techniques to follow when creating standards-based websites. The checklists can be lengthy and technical. Separating the content, presentation and behaviour layers of a web page is just one web standards strategy, but it may be the biggest. It affects every aspect of the site and thus, the payoff is big.

Most web pages are comprised of HTML, CSS and Javascript. The HTML is the structure of the page, outlining headers and paragraphs, etc. The CSS tells the browser how each element should be displayed. The Javascript adds the behaviors of the page, how the page should react to user events, liking hovering and clicking. Each layer of the page should be independent from the other. Take away the styles and the page still makes logical, hierarchical sense (this is how a search engine would see it). If someone doesn’t have Javascript installed on their browser, they don’t miss out on any of the content, just those extra enhancements.

This ‘progressive enhancement’ approach not only makes a site faster, but also makes it more accessible to users and search engines. Search engines don’t care about how the page looks and can’t read and execute Javascript. Adding each layer as a progressive enhancement eliminates this barrier so search engines can quickly crawl your site.

When hiring a company to create your website, make sure they are following this standard.

For more information on web standards, visit the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). The W3C are an international community that develops standards to ensure the long-term growth of the web.

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About Europa Studio

Europa Studio is an independent design and marketing consultancy based in Bournemouth, Dorset. Since 2004, we have helped a wide variety of businesses grow and be more innovative. We provide services primarily in the areas of web and graphic design, email marketing, search engine optimisation, photography and video production.